The Ultimate Summer Series: Call in Reinforcements

0J9A1000

Hey friends. I’m multitasking today’s post to share with you my 5 favorite summer podcasts and also to show you my new top I sewed up last week!

First, let’s talk podcasts. Do you listen to them?? If not, let me throw some game changers your way! I wasn’t into podcasts until about 4-5 months ago and now I am literally starting most conversations with “I just listened to this amazing podcast and they were talking about…” I like to listen to them while running, cleaning, sewing, or during kid-free drives. Most podcast episodes are from 20-60 mins so I feel a good sense of accomplishment when I can fit in a task and listen to something encouraging! I mostly listen to mom-themed podcasts so today I’m sharing my 5 fave episodes that have helped me to lay out the Ultimate Summer with my kiddos. After all, mommin’ aint easy so when you can pull in some reinforcements via a quick podcast full of helpful summer tips and tricks, you’ll feel SO much better!!!

0J9A1010

My 5 Fave Summer Podcasts

5 Steps to Plan an Awesome SummerThis is an excellent starter podcast from Your Life Rocks. Jenny gives quick, easy tips to help structure your summer and to get the most out of our days together at home! If you only have time for one podcast this entire summer, make this the one!

Which Type of Rest Do You Need?: This podcast is from the God Centered Mom podcast. Heather brings on her special guest, Saundra Dalton-Smith: a doctor, wife and mother who shares her story of a breaking point and realization about the true need for rest in our lives. This was a great one to listen to as a reminder to set aside the time and energy to reach the various types of rest in our day to day to keep us well rounded and healthy from an emotional, physical and mental standpoint.

Making Magical Summer Moments Around Your Work Schedule: This podcast is another from Your Life Rocks. I found great encouragement as a work-from-home mom in how to gain balance and keep family time a priority while my children are home this summer. She gives great practical tips and suggestions in how to hold onto the magic of a great childhood!

How to be Inspired, Live Intentionally and Breakup with Your T.V.This podcast is from Mandy Arioto, CEO of Mops International. She brings on a guest, Francie, who gives encouragement and inspiration to ditch the screen and reconnect with your kids. This is a great one to listen to as you strive to gain balance between the screen-suck and fun of summer!

How to Simplify HospitalityThis episode is from the Simply Joyful podcast. The host, Kristi Clover, brings on guest Jen Schmidt who debunks the myth behind elaborate hospitality. It was so encouraging to hear how simple, hospitable moments can create amazing summer memories. I am not a chef, I don’t have a fancy house, and I had a slew of excuses why I didn’t invite people into my home often. After this podcast, I feel encouraged and equipped to be a hostess with the mostest! 

0J9A1024.jpg

While you’re queuing up your new podcast playlist, let’s talk about my new top!!! My sweet design-sister Maya just released this fantastic summer pattern, Riley, for tweens and girls. I fit into the bust of a size 16 tween so I thought I would give it a try and now I am obsessed!!!!

0J9A1006

The bodice has bust darts that give it a great fit for maturing tweens or for old ladies like me! I love the length and how it flares just lightly at the hip.

0J9A1021

And how about the split back detail with that gorgeous scoop neckline??? Super figure flattering and great for showing off contrasting fabrics.

0J9A1001

Speaking of fabrics, I wanted to give a big shout-out and thank you to Fibers to Fabric, a sweet Etsy shop who reached out and asked if I’d like to use some of their fabrics for a blog feature! How could I say no to fabric?!?! I picked this gorgeous red Ikat with a beautiful Indian cotton in blue floral. I love how this combo is a subtle fourth of July look that I can pull off all summer long! Their prices are great, often have free shipping codes and the selection is truly one-of-a-kind!

 

 

The Ultimate Summer Series: Planning Phase

Ahhh the days of summer! When time slows down, the temperatures warm up and the moms start scrambling for ideas of what to do now that their kids are home all day! Kidding. Kind of. But, in all seriousness, I am longing for the Ultimate Summer- one full of relaxation, good memories and lots and lots of family fun. I thought I would share how I am prepping for the Ultimate Summer, share some tips and tricks along the way, and hopefully encourage and motivate you to soak up the moments this summer instead of letting the days pass by or trying to simply endure.

The first phase of the Ultimate Summer takes some intentional planning and some open conversations with your family. I recently listened to this awesome podcast from Your Life Rocks about 5 steps to plan an awesome summer. I was instantly inspired and put her tips into practice. If you haven’t heard the episode, please give it a listen! You’ll be so glad you did.

The Summer Dump List vs. The Summer Bucket List

Before you start making plans, saying all the yeses to everyone’s invites and signing your kids up for every sport, camp and vbs in your area, it’s critical to get a big picture plan and pick just a few solid ideas or you’ll find yourself spinning your wheels in the midst of chaos.

One way to envision it would be to start with a few solid rocks (summer must dos), then add a few pebbles (easy get togethers and quick moments), and then as time allows fill the rest of your bucket with the everyday things. If you fill the bucket first with all the yeses to the everyday invites and such, you’ll not have any room for the big moments you’ve been craving. Think: family vacations, learning a new skill, taking on a new hobby, making a big change, etc.

One easy way to sort through the various layers of activities is to create a simple “Dump List.” This is where you and your family simply write down any and every thing they could possibly want to do this summer. Keep writing, write some more and then jot down some more ideas. Dump it all out onto paper. If you’re stuck, check out my Pinterest board of ideas.

I added two crucial rhythms that I’d like to incorporate this summer to remind myself of: one hour of technology free time each day, and one day each week of no plans. I know myself (total yes-man) and that my family will function best if we just take that time daily and weekly to reset.

One of the tips from Your Life Rocks podcast was to ask your kids, spouse and self two simple questions:

  • What is your favorite summer memory?
  • How do you feel most loved?

Then, work together to partner the Dump List with the answers from the two key questions to create the Ultimate Summer Bucket List. If you didn’t catch the answers on our IG stories, you can see them in the Summer Ideas highlight reel!!

I used these two pages of the Daily Action Planner to help move ideas from our Dump List into our Ultimate Summer Bucket List. The prompts of creating my “Savor Daily,” “Savor Life” and “Get Connected” lists helped me frame our priorities and be sure to nail those big rock moments.

After you create your Ultimate Summer Bucket List, go ahead and start filling in your weekly plans to include a few of those must do, big rock moments. If you’re creating that rhythm of rest like we are, don’t forget to block out one hour a day and one day a week for just quiet, tech-free, family bonding. More on that in a future post!

I love this opening page of the DAP to doodle my inspiration of each week. You can see my priorities that week were to release my two new patterns, Finley and Daisy, and to squeeze as much QT with my two girls! Let’s just pretend I’m really good at drawing and doodling ok?????

Come back next week for another post from the Ultimate Summer series!! In the meantime, be sure to check out our Instagram feed and stories for daily Summer #momhacks!

Big thanks to our new friends at Savor Success for the awesome Daily Action Planner!!! We are so thrilled to be able to use it in creating our Ultimate Summer!!

6 Things I’m Doing Differently in My Thirties

Hey friends! I really wanted to expand my blog topics to stuff other than just sewing, and this is something that has been on my mind lately. I hope you don’t mind me jumping into some “motherhood” conversations and talks about getting O L D, but I hope you can relate to some of what I have to say or maybe find inspiration to change some habits as you approach (or embrace) a new phase of life.

Let me first start off by saying that I looooooved my twenties. I had a stellar group of friends. I had a great job teaching and a side job of leading group exercise classes too. Life was good. Enter my thirties. We moved, meaning I had to say goodbye to the paradise life of Hawaii, goodbye to some of the most incredible friends I could dream of, and start a new adventure. Ch-Ch-Changes everywhere. And, somewhere along the way, my body decided it was going to stop living the good life too. I found myself no longer able to stay up to the wee hours of the morning sewing. I could no longer eat whatever I wanted without noticing a change in my skin or figure. I had to all of a sudden be really intentional about relationships. I couldn’t keep up with the frantic pace I set in my twenties. After a bit of a downward slump, I decided something needed to change. So, today friends, I am sharing 6 new habits I embraced while facing this new phase of life.

EH4A3102fb

  1. I gave myself a bedtime. Thanks to a dear, new friend who introduced me to the bedtime feature on the iPhone. We were out for a Moms Night Out when I noticed her phone screen light up with a notification to go to bed. I didn’t mean to be nosey, but if you know me, I of course blurted out “You have a bedtime?!!?!” She explained how much she enjoys a full night of sleep and how the bedtime app helps her get to bed on time. That simple conversation stuck with me and about a week later, I decided to check out this bedtime feature on my phone. I set myself up for a solid 8 hours of sleep each night during the week, with no alarm on the weekend. Let me tell you- GAME CHANGER! The app alerts me 15 minutes prior to my bedtime so that I can go through my bedtime routine and make it into bed in time to allow me a full nights rest.

EH4A3041fb

2. I started driving in the slow lane. After watching an amazing video by Mandy Arioto, in which she encouraged people to try taking the slow lane (on the road, in the grocery store, etc) for two weeks and see how that slows the pace of their lives. I gave it a go, and here I am several months later still taking the slow lane. I used to try and maximize my schedule every day- filling in every open space of time with some type of task. This left me tired, frazzled and constantly late. I hated disappointing others who were waiting for me to show up. I hated finally sitting down at the end of the day feeling completely depleted and yet still not 100% successful. Since then, I’ve built in cushion time to my day so that I don’t have to rush. Now I actually show up early to things for a change. I stopped trying to multi-task or fill every single minute of the day and instead I started letting go of tasks and things that weren’t essential. I don’t miss the rush. I don’t miss the exhausted pigeon lifestyle. I do, however, enjoy driving in the slow lane with the silver-haired geniuses that figured out this habit long before I did.

EH4A3272fb

3. I started a quarterly “Treat Yo Self” day. After being a mom and constantly putting others’ needs above my own for 8+ years, I decided that four times a year I could treat myself to a really wonderful spa treatment. I found a local spa that offers a special each season with fresh ingredients used in the massage, scrub and body masque treatment. In addition, the spa grants access for the day to their sauna, spa, multiple outdoor pools, steam room and beautiful grounds. I look forward to the change of seasons knowing that means a new spa menu is being made and my appointment is coming up! Having a special treat to look forward to is so rewarding and encouraging. Spending the morning just to myself, in peace and quiet and pampering renews my tired mama heart. I am finding that after my treatment I feel more alive, more rejuvenated and more energized than ever!

EH4A3134fb

4. I started taking care of my skin. I remember on my wedding day, I was putting eye shadow on my mom and I made a comment about how the skin on her eyelid moved with the brush. She laughed and said something about one day mine will too. Welp. She was right… my eyelid skin now moves around as I attempt to put on some shadow to brighten my tired eyes. Darn it. And, I recently read an article that said if you don’t wash your face before bed each night you’ll age like a billion times faster. Ok, maybe it didn’t say a billion but the point was made. In my twenties, I definitely just plopped into bed without going through a really solid bedtime skin care routine. Well, you can teach an old dog new tricks because now I actually look forward to the whole face washing ordeal! I have started using a face brush and probiotic cleanser (affiliate links). I’m still on the hunt for a good night time moisturizer, so if you have any suggestions please leave them in the comments below! With my 15 minute notification before my bedtime, I make it a point to care for my skin and keep it clean!

EH4A3081fb

5. I invested in friendships. This sounds so odd, but it’s definitely something moms forget to do in the chaos of raising young children. In the past, I found it so easy to meet new people, to “collect” acquaintances wherever I went and to be super social. Fast forward to my 30s and all of a sudden I’m shy, self conscious and just probably a little too tired to put forth effort to make new friends. Instead, I realized I needed to invest in the few, valuable friendships that I already had. Carving out time to text, FaceTime, message on IG, etc. became a priority for long-distance friendships. Making a point to get together for a play date, coffee talk or even better- a girls night out moved up on my list of to-dos. There’s that saying “Friends are like shoes; you don’t need own a few hundred pairs, all you need is a few good ones.” I am so grateful for my tribe, my support system and my go-to gals. They know who they are and they know they are far more valuable than a hundred pairs of shoes!

EH4A3242fb

6. I started saying no. Being a people-pleaser to my core, I could never turn down a request for help, a friend in need, or a network opportunity on social media. I loved a full plate and then I was grabbing for more dishes. Again, cue the exhausted pigeon, multi-tasking yet failing, ragged self. A dear mentor mom encouraged me to focus on two things: is this right for my family, is it really as important as I think it is? If the request didn’t pass those two questions, then I felt confident and able to say no. And, not say no and make up a lie why I couldn’t do it…but say no and leave it at that. I don’t know why I feel like it’s so hard to just politely decline something, but it definitely took a lot of conscious effort on my part to change my constant “yes” reply to whatever came my way. With this new freedom, I’ve been able to spend more quality time with my family (that intentional, not sidetracked time), feel more creative and make things just for the fun of it, and have more down time to just do nothing!


Phew! That felt therapeutic to put out there! I hope you found some inspiration, encouragement and maybe a few ideas to put into practice in whatever phase of life you are going through. I’d love to hear your feedback and if you have any insights to share about the good ol’ aging deal. Thanks for reading.

-XOXO

Cassie


// Outfit details: Piper top (modified) and Pixie top patterns from Violette Field Threads. Top Fabric from Art Gallery Fabrics. Bottoms, shoes and hat from Target. Photos taken by Alexis of My Sweet Sunshine. Tutorial for hair bows on my Instagram.